Young girls today should remember that it is still possible, with the help of God’s grace, to be an innocent, virtuous and dignified young woman.
First, lets define our terms.
Here, we speak of “innocent” meaning “uncorrupted by evil, malice, or wrongdoing”. Who would want to say that they or their daughter, sister, etc. WAS corrupted by evil, malice or wrongdoing? We should strive for innocence.
“Virtuous”? “Conforming to moral and ethical principles; morally excellent; upright.” Morality is a positive thing. We speak of moral “excellence”. No such thing can be said of immorality. There is no “immoral excellence”.
“Dignified”? “Having or expressing dignity” – “dignity” meaning “the quality or state of being worthy of esteem or respect.” Are we worthy of esteem and respect? Yes. Why? Because we are created in the image and likeness of God. To be dignified is to act in a manner consistent with the dignity of our status as a child of God.
Living a true Christian femininity (or masculinity, for that matter) requires the same courage today as it did in the days of the early Christian martyrs. Here is one example, celebrated today:
Saint Lucy (d. 304) (detail)
by Paolo Veranesa (1528-1588)
SAINT LUCY (SANTA LUCIA)
Tradition tells us that Saint Lucy was born of noble, wealthy, Christian parents in Syracuse, Italy. Lucy had few memories of her father, for he died when Lucy was an infant. As a young girl, Lucy took a secret vow to consecrate her virginity to Christ. Thus her mother was quite dismayed when Lucy, as a teen, refused marriage to a young pagan. When Lucy’s mother developed a hemorrhage, Lucy persuaded her to visit the tomb of St. Agatha to pray for healing. When her mother was healed, Lucy revealed her vow of virginity and asked permission to bestow her fortune on the poor. Joyful at her cure, Lucy’s mother agreed, but Lucy’s pagan suitor was incensed. With the persecution of the emperor Diocletian at its height, the jilted young man accused Lucy, before a judge, of being a Christian. When Lucy refused to relinquish her faith, the judge ordered her to a brothel. However, guards who attempted to drag her to the house of sin were unable to budge her. Similarly an attempt to burn Lucy to death failed so she was dispatched by thrusting a sword into her throat. The date of Lucy’s martyrdom was December 13, 304.
(Text from The Confraternity of Penitents – http://www.penitents.org)